Many believe dogs were domesticated from wolves over 15,000 years ago. But what happens when the undomesticated wolf is bred with a dog?
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix is one beautiful example.
Sometimes known as a Wolf Shepherd this powerful breed is not for beginners. They need lots of exercise, training and socializing.
In this article we share everything you need to know about the breed, their history, temperament and personality, as well as their exercise, socializing and training requirements…
What Is A German Shepherd Wolf Mix?
This breed is exactly what their name sounds like – half German Shepherd and half Eurasian Wolf.
The German Shepherd Wolf mix combines the best traits of attributes of a German Shepherd and Wolf. This mix carries strong wolf-like features and is often mistaken for a wild wolf.
In 1935, Leendert Saarloos bred a German Shepherd with a wild Eurasian Wolf.
Leendert named the breed a Saarloos Wolfdog.
He bred this wolfdog with a goal to maintain the natural characteristics and appearance of a wolf with the domestication of a dog. He was successful in breeding the world’s first German Shepherd Wolf Mix and described the dog as: protective, loyal and hard-working.
Since Leendert’s breeding program many more wolf mixes have been bred such as the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, Tamaskan Dog and the Northern Inuit Wolf Dog.
Despite their popularity, wolf hybrids are illegal in many states. They are also not recognized as an official dog breed by the American Kennel Club due to their unpredictability.
To further understand this dog’s wild wolf part it is essential we take a closer look at both parent breeds.
There are two main wolf species that are bred with the German Shepherd dog:
- Eurasian Wolf
- Carpathian Wolf – bred with the Husky to give the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.
In the wild the wolf works hard to hunt for their food so they have a strong work ethic and hunting instincts.
Wolves are a wild predatory species.
Nobody has been successful in fully domesticating a wild wolf. There is always a level of unpredictability in this species and it is very hard to socialize them with a man-made environment.
The German Shepherd
Wolf-like in appearance, the German Shepherd was first bred in 1899 by Max von Stephanitz.
German Shepherds are a prestigious dog breed known for their protective instincts and intelligence.
They are a loyal dog that is very hard working. Their strong work ethic is one of the reasons they are so popular with the police and military.
However, the German Shepherd is not just a working breed. Their ability to be easily trained and domesticated has led to a growing popularity as a family dog.
Why We Love This Wolfdog
- The German Shepherd Wolf mix is a beautiful breed that shares many similar physical features of the wolf.
- This breed is very protective. One thing that both the German Shepherd and the Wolf share is their loyal personality.
50 to 120 pounds
Less than 24 inches
$800 – $1,000
9 to 13 years
German Shepherd Wolf Mix Puppies
This puppy typically costs $800 to $1,000.
Because this breed is very rare, their price is entirely dependent upon the breeder and not buyer demand, as it is with most dog breeds.
Experienced breeders that have bred multiple generations of German Shepherd Wolf Mix dogs are likely to charge $1,000. Each litter normally has six puppies. This is based on the average litter size of a wolf being four to six puppies and a German Shepherd’s eight puppies.
After adopting your puppy at eight weeks of age, the following ten weeks are a very important socialization window.
Being an unpredictable and part-wolf mix, you should expect to spend lots of time of training and socializing your puppy.
A good breeder will ensure that you are able to provide your pup with adequate training and socialization – especially for this mix.
Breed Appearance, Color and Size
Unlike most hybrid dogs, identifying a German Shepherd Wolf mix is very easy.
The German Shepherd shares many similar physical features of the wolf and therefore this mix does too.
This dog is more wolf-like than any other domesticated dog.
They have many physical wolf-like traits. Despite having a smaller head than a wild wolf they are otherwise very similar with brown and almond shaped eyes and ears that sit on the top of their head.
Most hybrid dogs appear more like one of their parents, however, both breeds in this case look similar to a wolf. Your puppy is guaranteed to appear strong, well-built and athletic.
German Shepherd Wolf Mix Size
This wolf hybrid is classified as a large dog breed that will weigh anywhere between 50 to 120 pounds.
Their large weight variation is because of the size difference in both parent breeds and the height range of the wolf family.
Your dog won’t grow above a height of 24 inches from the withers.
As with most breeds, females tend to be smaller in size and weight than males.
This wolf mix typically inherits their wolf parent’s coat.
They commonly have a wolf-like double-coat that is thick, and slightly course.
Historically their coat helps to protect them from harsh weather conditions and protects their skin from debris. Many dogs have double-coats as it is an adaption to the wild that is still carried by many domesticated breeds.
The German Shepherd can come in many different colors (e.g. blue and black). But, similar to their Wolf ancestors, the German Shepherd Wolf mix mostly comes in tones of sable to white or even black – similar to their Wolf ancestors.
They are frequent to moderate shedders.
Their shedding frequency will increase during any seasonal changes. For example they shed more frequently in spring than in winter as they begin to prepare for the hotter climate.
German Shepherd Wolf Mix Temperament
- Very unpredictable
The temperament of the German Shepherd Wolf mix can only be described as unpredictable – this is especially true in frightening or new situations.
Because of their wolf instincts they may be aggressive and react unpredictability when they feel threatened.
These instincts can be slightly modified through early socialization as a young puppy, but this will be difficult for new owners.
This is a breed who’s also very protective and therefore correct introductions with other people and pets are necessary.
The German Shepherd Wolf mix is known for howling.
This should comes as no surprise due to their pack animal instinct inherited from wolves. Howling is one of the most common forms of wolf to wolf communication.
Unnecessary and problematic howling may arise if this breed is left alone for prolonged periods of time. This trait makes this dog undesirable to busy individuals.
This dog also has a very high prey-drive. Therefore, we do not recommend them living in homes with smaller animals such as cats, rabbits, or hamsters. They may get along with other dogs, but they should definitely be watched and introduced to other dogs at a young age.
A domesticated dog (such as the German Shepherd) has a very different personality from a wild Wolf. It is therefore very tricky to predict what personality traits your hybrid will have.
Getting close to this breed takes a lot of time and patience.
Play is a great way to bond with your puppy, exhaust their energy and decrease their stress levels.
They are known to be quite shy at first.
However, eventually the German Shepherd’s domesticated personality will takes over. The German Shepherd Wolf Mix thrives as a family companion and they are usually very loving towards their family members.
One thing that both the German Shepherd and the Wolf share is their loyal personality.
The wolf is a pack animal so it is no surprise this mix is protective of their family.
Are They Good Family Dogs?
No. We would also not recommend keeping a German Shepherd Wolf mix in a home with small children. They are not patient. They should be monitored carefully and introduced to young children from a very young age. This will help them to feel comfortable.
This dog best in a home with no other pets and children. This is mainly due to their unpredictability and strong prey drive.
They are beautiful companions and can be very loving and loyal with their immediate family.
However, their wolf instincts and unpredictability mean that they thrive best in a home with an experienced owner who is able to commit time to socializing and training.
Known Health Issues
The German Shepherd Wolf mix has a life expectancy of between 9 to 13 years.
Their life expectancy is closer to a German Shepherd’s lifespan of 9 to 14 years rather than a wild wolf’s of just 8 years.
Unfortunately, due to genetics inherited from their German Shepherd parent they are predisposed to genetic health problems. The most serious being Hip and Elbow Dysplasia.
Dysplasia is a common musculoskeletal disease in German Shepherds.
It is an abnormal formation of the socket that causes your dog’s joints to grind and rub instead of sliding smoothly. It may lead to pain, lameness and arthritis.
Care Guide (Grooming, Feeding & Exercise)
Caring for a half-wild wolf mix is not easy and quickly becomes very time consuming as this dog needs lots of socializing to try and make them more predictable.
This breed requires a well-structured exercise regime, continuous training and a well-balanced diet.
We would only recommend this mix for experienced dog owners.
The dog was domesticated around 135,000 years ago.
Since domestication an entire industry producing food emerged and many dogs eat a dry kibbled diet. However, the wolf is still a wild species and thrives on raw-meat from their prey.
So, what food should you feed your dog? A raw meat based diet.
A raw diet will provide your dog with the necessary protein and fats that will help them to grow and stay healthy.
Dogs’ energy requirements depend on a variety of factors such as their energy level, age, physiological state, and more. So, make sure you consult with your veterinarian for diet volume. We recommend feeding two times per day.
|Favorite Exercise||Long Runs|
This is a breed with high exercise requirements. Leaving them to solely exercise on their own in a backyard is not an option. They require well-structured exercise routines to help burn off all of their energy.
Wolves are known to walk up to eight hours per day.
Running or long hikes are great ways to exercise a German Shepherd Wolf Mix.
Leash training is essential with this mix. You will need lots of control of your dog when walking in public – they will be a handful without leash work.
German Shepherds are known for being a a very intelligent breed.
This mix is also an intelligent breed. However, this does not guarantee that training will be easy. Intelligence is only one attribute that makes a dog trainable. Temperament and willingness to please are also important attributes for training.
This breed is independent, unpredictable and stubborn so constant training is very important.
We would only recommend this breed for an experienced owner that is able to provide positive reinforcement and routine.
Patience and persistence are a must for training.
Socializing your German Shepherd Wolf mix is essential and will form an important part of training because this dog is half wild and half domesticated.
They also have strong predatory and protective instincts that will need socializing from you at a young age.
Finally, mental stimulation is a must for this head-strong hybrid. Without regular mental stimulation (e.g. trick training) they will get bored and become destructive.
Regular brushing is required for the German Shepherd Wolf mix thanks to their beautifully thick fur!
We recommend brushing your dog every second day.
You should try and start grooming any dog from a very young age. This is especially important for a wolfdog mix as wolves are not used to human contact or grooming.
The German Shepherd Wolf mix is a gorgeous and rare breed.
If you are thinking of adopting this mix make sure you are able to provide them with the socialization, training, exercise and patience they need. This dog is illegal in many states and should be reserved for experienced owners only.
In return, your dog will be loyal, protective, intelligent, playful and of course a little unpredictable.
Their unpredictability may make them appealing, but it creates a lot of work for owners.
What do you think of mixing a domesticated canine with the wild wolf? Give us your thoughts below!